CELEBRATED Bulawayo arts ensemble, Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (IYASA) are working on a partnership deal that will see them bring various Austrian theatre groups to Bulawayo for performances at arts festivals and other theatre venues.
The group, popular for exporting African music, theatre and dance to Europe and Asia since their formation in 2001 now want local theatre buffs to be exposed to the theatre culture of Austria.
In an exclusive interview with NewZimbabwe.com, Iyasa director Nkululeko Innocent Dube revealed that the partnership will introduce age specific theatre and create more platforms to promote theatre.
“In 2001 we met an Austrian theatre director Stephan Rabl in Harare when we performed at a children’s theatre festival. He liked the concept of a school of arts. We then agreed to create exchange programs between Zimbabwe and Austria encompassing theatre and dance.
“He invited us to our first ever tour of Europe and since then we decided to create performances with other theatre groups and dance companies within Austria. To date we have linked up with groups such as Szene Bunte Wahner, Theatro Piccolo and Make-Make among others,” said Dube.
“Recently, Rabl visited Zimbabwe and we met with various arts stakeholders in the city including the city council, festival directors and local arts groups. We also toured various arts venues around the city. What we realised is that there are no theatre productions which are specific to age.”
Dube said they decided to focus on children and young people and will bring in theatre productions from Austria, targeting children as young as 2 years old.
“We will have performances for children as young as 2 years old. These are usually the forgotten audiences but we hope to popularise that again in Zimbabwe. We are also working with various theatre groups in the city to impart them with the necessary skills, through workshops and training programs.
“We hope that at the Intwasa Arts Festival and Beitbridge International Festival, there will be some productions from Austria showcasing,” said Dube.
He revealed that they will also work with schools, arts groups and playwrights who will be encouraged to write plays for young audiences. Advertisement
Iyasa already has an annual program called Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search which seeks to harness and nurture arts at grassroots level.
The program is in its 6th edition this year and is being held under the theme Destiny and schools are tasked to produce 15 minute long plays.
Meanwhile, Iyasa will leave for their annual tour of Europe next week.
The globetrotting arts ensemble will tour countries like Slovakia, Norway, Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany and will only return home at the end of August.
“We will be based in Austria, which is our base when we are overseas. We are looking forward to the tour and we will do some of our famous productions like Sisonke and Girafika,” said Dube.